Best Music for Journaling – Benefits, Ideas, and Resources

Picture of a notebook and a set of headphones

Music is powerful. We can use it to get excited for the gym, wind down for bed, or help us sharpen our focus for specific activities. Knowing this, we have to ask, what is the best music for journaling?

The right songs to choose for journaling will be ones that improve your focus, block out distractions, and help you get in touch with your feelings without distracting you from what you’re doing. You might want to try piano music, new age songs, jazz, or instrumental folk songs. Soundtracks are another popular option, as is ambient noise.

To get the most from your journaling session, you’ll want to sample a few options to figure out the best music to inspire your journaling habit.

The Types of Music That Are Best For Journaling

The best music for journaling makes great background noise. Music is used here to block out disruptive sounds around you. It helps improve your focus and lets you be more present while you journal.

Alternatively, the wrong music can pull you right out of what you’re doing. The wrong song can pull you away from the writing you were doing and make you remember just how great this song by The Killers really is. From there, your thoughts might drift to your friend who also likes the band, and pretty soon, you’re reaching for your phone to text them and see what they’re up to. Journaling has now been forgotten.

This is a surprisingly common scenario. Finding focus while you journal requires the right environment and some practice.

So what do people look for in the right music for journaling?

Songs without lyrics. Music that has a fairly even pitch, so there isn’t suddenly a loud boom or shriek to surprise you. In general, you’re looking for songs that make great background noise as they would play in a hotel lobby.

Some examples of types of music to look for include:

  • Movie soundtracks
  • Video game soundtracks
  • Instrumental jazz
  • Classical music
  • New age music
  • Foreign music
  • Lo-fi hip hop

We’ll get into some more specific examples for where to find music below. The above are just a few suggestions for what you might search for when you want to find something new on your own.

The Benefits of Listening to Music While You Journal

One reason we have already covered for listening to music is that it will help you block out distractions.

However, did you know that listening to music can also improve your cognitive performance? Multiple studies have found this to be true over the years. Universities now suggest students listen to music while they study.

For journaling, this means that some music can be the little extra step that helps you get in the right mental space to write. It can help you focus and think through what you want to say. Music can help us better pay attention and stay in the present moment.

Can I Listen To Music With Lyrics?

While some people listen to calm music with lyrics while they write and find that it is mostly okay, most people have trouble with this.

You don’t see a lot of people suggesting that you listen to any music with lyrics while you’re writing or journaling. This is because the words may interrupt your flow. It takes 23 minutes to get back to work after you’ve been seriously distracted. While a song with lyrics may not be that serious of a distraction, it sometimes can be. If the lyrics are catchy, the song is a favorite, or it’s something new you haven’t heard before, it can take up a lot of your attention.

But maybe you really want to listen to your favorite song while you write. Or the new song you’re just in love with.

One exception that tends to work for listening to catchy music is to choose just one song and listen to it on repeat. This can actually be exceptional as a way to channel focus. This will work especially well if you always listen to the same song while you journal. By listening to one song on repeat, it does allow the music to become background noise and improve focus.

So if you want to break out Beyoncé, by all means, go ahead! Just choose one song and put it on repeat.

What If I Don’t Want To Listen to Music?

That’s fine, too! You might want to find other ways to block out distractions.

This may mean using earplugs. It can also mean using a different source of ambient noise. You can do this by turning on a fan or using a website like to play the sounds of the rainforest or beach.

A List of the Best Music For Journaling

Let’s look at some resources you can actually click on right now to start listening to while you write.

The HALIDONMUSIC YouTube channel is full of classical music. Each selection includes a few hours of listening.

Looking for something a touch more modern? Lindsey Stirling is a YouTube star. This music is a bit punchy, but it doesn’t have lyrics. It may help you focus if you want something a bit more active. Here’s a link directly to her playlist, just with her original music. You’re going to want to put your phone screen away so you can’t see it. The music videos are pretty great watching, but not what you want while you journal.

Philip Glass is an amazing pianist. Here is this album “Glassworks”.

Do you know the Texas-based band Explosions in the Sky? Try their song “Your Hand In Mind”. You may get hooked.

Sigur Rós is an Icelandic rock band. That may not sound like great journaling music, but that’s only if you haven’t listened to it. This is fun, beautiful, and falls easily into the background when you need it to.

Fantasy and science fiction movies have some of the best soundtracks. Hans Zimmer and Danny Elfman are two soundtrack musicians you might want to look for. To get you started, here’s the Interstellar soundtrack from Hans Zimmer. You can listen to it on repeat while you write.

Some video game soundtracks are too intense. One of the best ones for journaling is from the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Try this one on for size.

Looking for singing that won’t distract you? Try French music. That is, if you are not fluent in French, of course. Here is a playlist of great French songs you can listen to in the background.

The YouTuber “ChilledCow” plays a radio station with lofi hip hop beats to study to. You’ll never have to listen to the same songs, and the stream is always there.

With a similar setup is this jazz piano radio.

Finding The Best Music for Journaling

Ultimately, the best music for journaling is going to be what works best for you. What you will want to do is try a new option for a few days in a row and see how it makes you feel. How journaling works for you while you listen to it.

Many people find that once they listen to a particular kind of music a few times, putting the music on makes it easier to slip into journaling during their next session. Their brains recognize the music and know it’s time to journal.

Find the music that lets you relax your thoughts, falls into the background, and helps you focus. You won’t know what works for you until you try it, so have patience while you try a few options during your next journaling session.

By the way, if you are new to journaling and would like to get started on the right foot, check out my article ‘Journaling for Beginners – A Complete Guide.’